Me & my beardy valentine

There are two things to remember when making a Valentine’s Day meal for two: One, it should be easy enough for a man to do, because preferably he’s the one in the kitchen while the lady relaxes by the fire (or in front of the Xbox, whatever.) And two, it shouldn’t leave you too full for the two best things about Valentine’s Day – dessert and making out. So keeping those two important rules in mind, my husband and I put our admittedly creepy heads together and came up with Dismembered Artichoke Hearts in Marinara.

Using a few short cuts, this recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together – and all the chopping and red stuff is reminiscent of our favorite February 14th horror flick- My Bloody Valentine. (Re-made in 3-D no less!) So put on your favorite high-waisted jeans and a Canadian accent and settle in for a meal that hits the spot but doesn’t leave you too heavy to run like hell from Harry Warden.

Like I said, this recipe uses a few short cuts to make things simple for any newbie cooks who might be reading this. If you’re too advanced (aka snobby) for shortcuts you’re welcome to clean and cut down all the baby artichokes this recipe calls for, as well as slave over a pot of homemade marinara (I recommend my grandma’s recipe.)

You’ll need:

  • 1/2 dry pasta of your choice
  • 1 bag frozen artichoke hearts, thawed (or 1lb whole baby artichokes)
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 vegetable broth
  • 1 cup prepared or homemade marinara
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

If you’re using whole artichokes, check out the directions here for cleaning and preparing them. Cut the artichokes in half lengthwise and rub the exposed, newly cut side with lemon to prevent discoloration.

If you’re using frozen artichoke hearts, lucky you! Let them thaw on your counter top, then drain them to make sure there’s no excess water.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. This is a good time to get the water for your pasta boiling as well. Cook and stir the artichoke hearts, onion and garlic for 5-10 minutes until the onion is soft and golden. Add the vegetable broth and cover the skillet. Bring it to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Throw your pasta in the water when the artichokes have about 4-5 minutes left to simmer.

Preheat your broiler and spread the marinara in the bottom of an 8″, broiler-proof pan. Arrange the artichoke hearts cut-side-down in the sauce, plop the garlic and onions anywhere in the marinara. Sprinkle with cheese and brown under the broiler about 5 minutes, or until the marinara is hot and the cheese is melted. Remove from broiler and drain pasta (I feel like a jackass saying this, but cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, 9 minutes should do it.)

Serve the artichokes over pasta and garnish with lemon wedges. Wait until after dinner to reveal any unexpected plot twists you had planned for the rest of your evening.

Originally posted on Slash & Dine, 2009.

Special Valentine’s Day bonus: Check out these pictures of how much my husband loves to spend time with me. <3